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  1. Default Vegas to Yosemite in a day - which of these routes are best?

    Hi everyone

    I am unsure of which route is the "best" and I hope you will be able to assist me in this matter.

    My girlfriend and I will be going on a roadtrip in the end of august and we are traveling from San Francisco -> LA -> Vegas ->San Francisco (like many others!). I am having problems with the trip from Vegas to SF, via Yosemite and Virginia City.

    Day 1: Leave Vegas in the morning and drive to Yosemite
    Day 2: Full day in Yosemite
    Day 3: Drive over Tioga Pass around noon, stay at Lake Mono. See the ghost town of Bodie.
    Day 4: Drive to Virginia City and spend some hours there before heading to SF (arrive in the evening)
    Day 5: Fly back home

    Questions:
    1) Any comments to the itinerary? (i.e. is Virginia City overrated, would you recommend anything else?)

    2) Which route will you recommend for the Vegas-> Yosemite drive (if any of them :) )
    Route 1: Vegas -> Dantes View (stop and look over Death Valley) -> Yosemite via 395 (north) and Tioga Pass

    Length: 9 hour drive, i.e. approx. 11 hours with breaks (8 a.m. -> 21 p.m.)
    Pros/Cons: Not "that" long, but I think it is kind of stupid to take this route since we'll drive over the Tioga Pass when we'r going to Virginia City.
    Link:
    Google Map route via 395 north

    Route 2: Vegas -> Dantes View (stop and look over Death Valley) -> Yosemite via 178, Lake Isabella and Highway 99 and 41 North till Yosemite

    Length: 11 hours, i.e. 13 hours incl. breaks
    Pros/Cons: This road should be "pretty" with a lot of scenery (apart from the last bit on 99/41). The bad side is that this is one long trip.
    Link:
    Google map, route via 178

    Route 3: The fast route. Highway 95 north (east of Death Valley) and then take the Tioga Pass.
    Length: 7:17 hours, i.e. 8 hours with one break.
    Pros/Cons: This is the "fast route" but it might not be as interesting as the others..
    Link:
    Google map, the fast route

    Thanks in advance. Any help will be appriciated.

    Best regards,

    Svend

    At first I had hoped we could see the Sequia National Park (the big tree) as well as Yosemite - but I dont think that is feasible, and as far as I can read Yosemite is more interesting than Sequia National Park.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Tioga.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I would take the mapping program times with a pinch of salt, and you should add at least 20% to those plus sight seeing.

    I would certainly recommend going across Death valley and over Tioga pass into Yosemite, although you could take the "Locals route" on 160 to Pahrump and then As Meadows/State line Rd to Death valley junction and 190. When you have driven the Tioga pass it won't seem a hardship to have to drive back over it, the views are incredible.

    I am not familiar with Virginia City and the reason you may be heading there, but what I do know is you are rushing through some of the most amazing and diverse scenery on offer to get there.
    Personally I would explore Death valley and stay in Lone Pine or Bishop area and then head to Bodie and Mono lake and either stay in Lee vining or head over Tioga pass. Take a couple of days at this wonder of the world, that is Yosemite, and then head to SF. You can visit giant Sequoia tree's in Yosemite at the Mariposa grove to the South of the park and you could easily spend a few hours driving up to Glacier point and witness the amazing views. By the time you have driven Tioga pass and explored the valley floor the time will dissapear quicker than you will have hoped for.

    Bodie could easily take half a day up but you will have to check your rental agreement [if you are renting] as part of the road is unpaved and could break the terms of your agreement.

    As well as Deatth valley having the lowest point in the US at Badwater, at Lone Pine you have Mt Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48. Mammoth lakes and June lake are other places to consider on route.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Virginia City is very cool

    Quote Originally Posted by SvendRost View Post
    Day 1: Leave Vegas in the morning and drive to Yosemite
    Day 2: Full day in Yosemite
    Like Southwest Dave has mentioned, you're pushing too many miles here. It's close to a full day just to drive from Las Vegas to Yosemite -- you won't have much time to see any of the park. Here's about the fastest route to the park -- and very scenic as well.
    Day 3: Drive over Tioga Pass around noon, stay at Lake Mono. See the ghost town of Bodie.
    Another full day and problems with your rental car!
    Day 4: Drive to Virginia City and spend some hours there before heading to SF (arrive in the evening)
    Another killer day -- 10+ hours on the road.

    Mark

  4. Default Thanks for the comments

    Thank you for your comments. I'll sum it up to: to much time in the car :)

    @ Virginia City: I read about it in a traveling book and it sounded like a fun place to see. It is an (alive) ghost town that's been well preserved.
    @ Bodie: I didn't know that it wasn't possible to reach Bodie in a rental - so thanks for the tip.

    I've tried to modify the tour based on your comments:

    Day 1: Leave Vegas in the morning and drive to Lone Pine
    Route 1: Via Death Valley, length: 6 hours (excl. stops), link: Via Death Valley
    Pros/Cons: We get to drive through Death Valley and see some things (?) there
    Route 2: Via Dantes View (via road 160), length: ca 5½ h (excl stops), link: Stopping at Dantes View
    Pros/Cons: Dantes View should be give a wonderfull view of the dessert.
    Day 2: Drive to Yosemite Village, via Tioga Pass to Yosemite Village.
    - Sights/stops: Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake + a number of places on the Tioga Pass
    Day 3: Yosemite
    - Sights: beautiful nature
    Day 4: Yosemite + drive to San Francisco (arrive late)
    - Sights/stops: Columbia state historic park (ghost town)
    Day 5: Fly back home in the morning

    Any comments to this itinerary?

    I think day 1 is more "relaxing" now with the possibility to have more stops on the way. Instead of seeing Mt. Whitney and Mono Lake we could also drive directly to Yosemite Village.

    Again, thanks for your comments.

    /Svend

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Nice balance.

    Yes, day 1 will give you far more time to enjoy Death valley. Heading to Death valley junction and Dantes view there is also Armargosa Opera house and Zabriske point. When you get to Furnace creek [good spot to stop for refreshments and look around the museum etc] you could head South to Badwater and on the way back possibly take the "Artist's drive" loop. Further along 190 is the Sand dunes near to Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs, other places for refreshments.

    Here is a park map of Death valley.

    On the way to Yosemite there is a gas station at the junction of 395 and 120 [Tioga] and is a good place to fill up your tank if you haven't already. If you follow the road up the hill a short way past the station you get nice views of Mono lake. If it's around lunchtime, inside the gas station is "Woah Noah's Delli", a nice little diner with great tucker !

    If you have time to go to Columbia State park you will go through historic Jamestown home of Railtown as well.

    If you have any other questions just ask, if not it would be great if you could drop by and let us know how your trip went and to share your thoughts.

    Have a great trip !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It's never been a ghost town!

    Quote Originally Posted by SvendRost View Post
    @ Virginia City: I read about it in a traveling book and it sounded like a fun place to see. It is an (alive) ghost town that's been well preserved.
    The author of that book is doing travelers a serious dis-service. Virginia City has never been a ghost town, it's been continually occupied by thousands of residents from the very beginning. It was a very wealthy gold/silver mining town and the architecture of the saloons, churches and homes makes for a great day trip. The sidewalks are still wood and the place has it's share of characters. Here's a link from the visitor authority and we have a bunch of articles about our visits there. One of coolest things is that the old railroad has been reconnected to Carson City -- A very cool trip!

    Mark

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